« Heart! (on Fox News) | Home | Terriers, the return of Donal Logue »

September 7, 2010


Electric Zoo fashion

Electric Zoo 2010

[photo from NY Times]

On Saturday I went to the gigantic all-day two-day dance music festival on Randall's Island, Electric Zoo. I expected my posse to be among the oldest people there (except for the DJs and Jon Pareles I think we were) so I was curious to see what the club kids would be wearing these days. My knowledge of rave culture is pretty out of date, so I wondered how much had changed since the mid-90's.

Nothing. Nothing had changed. Aside from the people in t-shirts and shorts that would have been dressed exactly the same way in any recent decade, the club kids looked just like club kids circa 1994. I saw face glitter. Stuffed animal backpacks. Rainbow tights. Glow sticks. Pacifiers. Freaking whistles around their necks that they would un-ironically blow! It was the same radioactive cartoon character look that everyone was wearing almost 20 years ago.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. After all, a lot of the music at the event was a clear throwback to the early 90's. If you went to the Rush concert at Jones Beach in July, I would bet you would have seen a lot of acid-washed jeans, feathered hair, and single earring studs on display in that crowd. (They did all of the "Moving Pictures" album and I bet it was fantastic.)

I'm not judging: this is just the reality of concerts and events that refer to a specific time and place in cultural history. The rave-y dance music scene peaked over 15 years ago, and it seems like the fashion is still stuck back there.

Some of the newer-looking outfit innovations that I noticed were lots of people in pink or green or orange neon shirts or accessories or tights, which is actually a throwback to the early 80's, fun fur leg warmers, and also these weird tutu-length crinoline things, which girls would wear over their pants or tights (see photo above). I don't know what that's about.

One other observation: I know we all need to record every moment of our lives for blogs and Facebook, but many people who weren't experiencing some sort of transporting chemical enhancement seemed to spend the really great sets fiddling with their camera settings or taking pictures or video of a DJ on a distant stage. The kids who weren't doing any documenting were pogoing up and down, waving their hands (or their glow sticks) all over the place, shaking their hair around, grabbing their friends in an ecstatic hug and generally losing their minds. There's some oddly Zen-like lesson on living in the moment in there.

categories: Culture, Music, NYC, Robot-on-the-Spot
posted by amy at 2:03 PM | #

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


I had similar thoughts at Burning Man last year. Kept thinking "Glow sticks, neo-circus acts, Mad Max, ecstasy... Would a kid born in 1990 find this all incredibly retro?"

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastard at September 10, 2010 2:33 PM

Strange! I mean, it is all incredibly retro, I guess, but why do they think it's cool? I understand about trends coming back around, but there's no way neon shirts are cool in any kind of objective way.

Posted by: amy at September 10, 2010 9:25 PM

Dude, nothing's cool in any objective way. Once upon a time, people were convinced that putting band-aid on your face was cool. After that, all bets are off.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastard at September 11, 2010 2:55 PM

I think the new generation gap is the expectation that cool is going to refresh in a stylistically total way. I kinda think people are more just 'drilling down'- and at this rate a rave in 2010 will look pretty much the same in 2050 as it did in 1994, much by the same token that it took my computer 90 seconds to boot up in 1994 and takes 90 seconds to boot up today....

Posted by: ooghe at September 15, 2010 12:53 PM

Right. But I wonder if all the kiddie ravers with their glow sticks and whistles think they're doing something edgy or if they're, God forbid, consciously paying homage to their raver progenitors. Like when girls all started wear flares again about 10 years ago. [shudder]

Posted by: amy at September 15, 2010 4:59 PM

hmm... good question. I think the part where it's 120bpm it's homage, then at 140bpm it's edgy.

Maybe you can't look kind of like Sailor Moon anymore, but you can look like Haruko Haruhara?

Posted by: ooghe at September 16, 2010 11:50 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)